Sheriff Joe Arpaio phases out in-person visits in Maricopa
by Bernadette Rabuy, November 10, 2014
Video visitation at Maricopa County, AZ jails has seemed fishy from the beginning. At first, Sheriff Joe Arpaio cut back visitation last December, just in time for the holiday season. The sheriff’s spokeswoman told the Phoenix New Times that the cut from three 30-minute visits per week to one 30-minute visit per week was necessary in order to “update/improve MCSO’s video visitation program.” What she didn’t mention was that, one week later, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office would announce its plan to get rid of the remaining face-to-face visits in Maricopa that still existed in half of Maricopa’s six jails.
As of last Monday, Sheriff Joe has completely phased out in-person visits in all Maricopa jails. Families and friends now have two options: travel to the jail and visit their incarcerated loved one via a video screen or schedule a remote visit (using a personal computer) for a fee. The confusion doesn’t stop there. While Securus, the provider of video visitation services in Maricopa, is currently offering promotional pricing for remote video visits at 25 cents a minute, this price will only last until the end of the year. So by January, those visits are going to cost 65 cents a minute.